Old Maid

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Can you make pairs, survive the game, and avoid getting stuck with that terrible designation “Old Maid?”

Number of participants: 3+
Intensity level: Low
Preparations: None or not specified.
Equipment: a deck of 53 playing cards, including one Joker

The object is to not be the player holding the Joker at the end of the game. To begin, shuffle a deck of 53 playing cards containing a Joker, and deal out all of the cards in roughly equal hands. It does not matter if some players have one more card than others. 

Each player, in turn, draws a card from the hand of the player to the right. Players discard any pairs (two cards of the same value) in their hands and draw again from the hand to their right. If a player “pairs out” (has no more cards), then he or she drops out and is safe. Play continues until there are no pairs left to form. Whoever is holding the Joker when play ends is the “Old Maid” and loses the game. This can be played as an elimination game, or in rounds until someone becomes the Old Maid three times.

(NOTE: If you do not have a deck with a Joker in it, simply remove three of the queens from a deck of 52 cards. The remaining queen determines the Old Maid.

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